Defending champion Novak Djokovic aims to “grass up” David Goffin in his first meeting against the Belgian on the natural surface in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.
I think grass is quite suitable to his style of the game. He's one of the quickest players on the tour. Novak Djokovic
But the Serb knows he has to do his homework to ensure a last-four spot. That he needs practice to make it perfect against a player who has often been his practice partner.
The 32-year-old said: “We’ve never faced each other on grass. I definitely have to prepare myself for that, do some analysis.
“I think grass is quite suitable to his style of the game. He’s one of the quickest players on the tour. I think his footwork is probably his biggest asset. He manages to get himself in the right positions, he is balanced on some shots that most of the other guys aren’t really balanced.
“Finals of Halle against Roger before Wimbledon, now he’s in quarters, playing really well. Without a doubt, he’s playing at his best again because he struggled with injuries. I can relate to that because I think he was experiencing issues with elbow, which I went through the same.
“ So I understand how that can really mess up with your game. But he has Thomas Johansson, who is a Grand Slam champion, as his coach. David is someone that knows how to play on a big stage. He doesn’t get overwhelmed with the experience. It’s quarterfinals. The matches, the opponents, are top-quality players. Matches only get tougher from here.
“David and I practice a lot, that’s true. We practiced a lot. We have a very good relationship. We respect each other. He definitely has a very clean game, technically very correct, so to say. He’s someone that I think everyone respects and likes.
“He’s a really nice guy. I think the fact that we practice so much, we’ve played also quite a few matches against each other on different surfaces, helps to prepare, of course. I know him well.
“It’s not the first time I’m going to face him. It’s the first time I’m going to face him on grass. There’s definitely going to be some tweaks in the preparation for that match, certain things I’ll try to do a bit differently to get him out of the comfort zone. I’m sure he’s going to try to do the same.”
Goffin appreciate what he will be up against.
He said: “Novak is playing so well in Grand Slam. Is so tough to beat him in the best of five and especially here on grass. I think when he’s playing his best tennis, is the World No. 1, is probably the best. Even for Roger, it will probably be the toughest challenge with Roger on grass.
“But he’s so consistent. This is what he’s playing for now, grand slams, win Grand Slams. It’s tough. He’s so solid. The big three now, Rafa is still there, won in three sets. And Roger, we will see. But they are both fit and ready for this tournament, like in Paris, as well. So they are so tough to beat in Grand Slam. But they are humans, so I will try to do my best.”
The winner will take on either Argentine Guido Pella, the 26th seed who stunned former finalist Milos Raonic in the last 16, or Spanish 23rd seed Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Pella said: “I have a very tough match in the next round, but I will keep fighting, keep playing, and if I can have some chances, maybe I will take it. I never thought that I was going to do a quarterfinals in a Grand Slam. So it is a great feeling for me. I will try to keep doing my best.”